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Consumption and Ecological Footprint

Introduction

In the course of a lifespan, people engage in multiple activities for survival and recreation, which often go beyond mere necessities. The consumerist society that inhabits the planet now tends to increase consumption by driving economic forces to expand industries for goods production. Given such intensity of goods purchasing and the fact that the population of the world significantly grows, humanity now exhausts the planet’s resources without acknowledging it. Indeed, even with the advancement of environmental studies and ecological awareness, people know little about their ecological footprint on the environment. Thus, in this paper, I will explore the phenomenon of ecological footprint and reflect on my own consumption characteristics to enhance my understanding of the complex nature of interdependency between everyday life and the environment.

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Ecological Footprint Defined

In the context of environmental studies, human behavior and lifestyles are viewed from the perspective of their impact on the planet and nature. Indeed, to support the life of a person, multiple resources are spent. Also, every person produces waste as an outcome of daily activities, which places a burden on the environment. Thus, the ecological footprint is the effect of the consumption of natural resources and the production of waste a person triggers by his or her use of goods on a daily basis. The ecological footprint might be calculated as a sum of all resources involved in the invention, designing, production, transportation, consumption, and utilization of goods and services and the time needed for nature to absorb the waste and revive.

De Botton vividly portrays the multifaceted nature of the modern-day society’s dependence on industry and active resource usage by describing the interrelated links between various manifestations of human existence (39-40). According to the author, people commonly do not realize where their goods come from and what it takes to produce them and deliver them to their houses. Moreover, such industrial giants as plants, factories, warehouses, ships, and ports are invisible to the people despite their “both practical importance and emotional resonance” (De Botton 24). However, the ecological footprint of a random individual living a conventional lifestyle involves far more than major industries.

My Consumption and Ecological Footprint

As an average citizen in a dominantly consumerist society, I consume multiple goods and services. However, the comprehension of the concept of ecological footprint helps me understand that many issues remain unclear as per the actual impact my lifestyle choices have on the environment. Indeed, some of the activities, such as driving a car or using plastic straws, have obvious adverse implications for the planet and might be minimized or avoided to eliminate the harm. Nonetheless, it is difficult to establish clear links between more implicit consumerist choices with the environmental impact.

In an attempt to explain my ecological footprint, I will describe what I consume as an individual. Firstly, it seems obvious to state that I buy food to survive daily, as well as purchase clothes, household items, furniture, electronic devices, and make virtual purchases of media content. In terms of accommodation, I use water for cooking, showering, and cleaning; I need gas and electricity to live through the day. For education and work, I have to use transportation, which involves fuel, roads, city lights, road markings, and other elements created by people to make the transport function properly. For recreation, I consume TV content, the Internet, music, social media, movies, dancing places, restaurants, cafes, parks, and travel sites. When I shop, I commonly buy things to provide me with comfort, which is why my choices of goods expand beyond my primary needs. When thinking about where my things come from, I realize that in many cases, I do not acknowledge that. Knowing the trademark or the name of the company that produces the goods is usually enough. However, when elaborating in the context of my ecological footprint, it is necessary to state that all the items I buy involve a wide range of activities, resources, and people to become my possession.

In addition to the identified elements of my consuming activities, there might be more important issues presented. The ideas expressed by De Botton have contributed to the scope of my knowledge about the ties between nature and a consumer, namely the description of logistics behind economic processes aimed at satisfying consumers’ needs (38-39). Indeed, for me to drink a cup of coffee in the morning, water, coffee, sugar, a cup, and a teaspoon should be extracted, processed, packed, and delivered. Large plants must be involved in the production of the mobile phone I am using. Large groups of people must be involved in inventing, designing, manufacturing, distributing, and selling the smartphone. Also, significant resources, such as electricity, water, gas, oil, and others, must be used for me to have the phone. In essence, all elements in the industrial world are interconnected, which implies that more consumption leads to a higher level of environmental damage.

Conclusion

In summation, the ecological footprint people leave on the planet is composed of the daily choices and lifestyles people have. I managed to view my life as a consumer from the perspective of its ultimate impact on the environment, and it helped me clarify the complexity of links in the contemporary industry-driven society. However, it is still unclear to what extent my daily activity impacts the planet, and if the minimization of individual consumerism tendencies is capable of making a change on a global scale.

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Works Cited

De Botton, Alain. The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work. Vintage, 2009.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, July 27). Consumption and Ecological Footprint. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/consumption-and-ecological-footprint/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, July 27). Consumption and Ecological Footprint. https://studycorgi.com/consumption-and-ecological-footprint/

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Consumption and Ecological Footprint." July 27, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/consumption-and-ecological-footprint/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Consumption and Ecological Footprint'. 27 July.

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